Much like cherry blossoms and special Frappuccinos, gachapon vending machine capsule toys are seasonal pleasures in Japan. Even the most popular capsule toys only stick around for a few months, and then they’re cycled out to make space for new trinkets.
But the biggest gachapon hits make a triumphant return with sequel series, which is what we’re getting this month with Snack Sign Magnet 2. Modeled after the bar signs that light up the night in Japan’s entertainment districts, they can be set down on a flat surface or attached to your refrigerator, mimicking the look of the stacked signs that jut out from buildings advertising the various drinking establishments within.
While they might look like simple little things, manufacturer Kitan Club has put a lot of attention into the details, creating six signs that represent different Japanese bar genres.
Snack Ai follows the common pattern of a woman opening up her own relaxed bar after retiring from working as a hostess, giving her place the same flowery name that she hostessed under. “Snack” here refers to a bar that that also serves food, a configuration that lets them stay open later than places that only serve drinks since they’re then classified as restaurants.
Lounge Love & Awesome, on the other hand, seems like it might be an active hostess bar, or at least a watering hole where the allure comes from an aura of sophisticated romance and flirtation, since in Japanese bar parlance “lounges” bill themselves as having a more cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Snack Raimuraito represents a popular practice for bars with an older clientele: using creative kanji character readings to create an in-joke for regular customers. Ordinarily, “Raimuraito,” would mean something akin to “dreams come and people come,” but the four kanji could also be used as a substitute for the English word “limelight.”
The Snack Sign Magnet 2 series goes on sale July 18 for 300 yen each. With many bars closed and local government discouraging going out and drinking with strangers, these look like a fun way to spruce up enjoying a cold one at home. They even have lights inside that you can turn on with a switch when you finish work and your home bar is ready to start pouring.
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